Cotswolds Early History
Most people who visit the UK & the Cotswolds marvel at just how much history we have! And boy there is a huge amount!!! We pick out the best & most interesting pieces for our tours to bring the region to life as we travel & explore. For those how want a little more detail then we thought a selection of blog posts would be useful!
Prehistoric settlers would have been attracted to the region due to its easily accessible gentle rolling hillside, its lush fertile valleys and waterways. If you peak at an ordnance survey map you can see the region is littered with long barrows, where the prehistoric settlers buried their dead, just outside of Winchcombe Belas Knap would be the Cotswolds most famous. You can walk up to the long barrow & get an idea on its size & the stunning views for this hillside vantage point.
With the Bronze Age came hillforts, another feature found on higher ground, there presence helps us to understand that protection of the region was necessary. Meaning villagers and early settlers felt there was a need to protect their livestock & possessions from invasion. There is still evidence of earthworks throughout the Cotswolds, some can be seen behind the church in Long Compton.
Moving forward the Romans had a huge impact in the region. They found the Bronze Age hillforts easy to overcome. The Romans set up military headquarters, Cirencester being our most famous Roman town, with the nearby Roman Villa of Chedworth, now managed by the National Trust.
The Roman Road, The Fosse Way cuts through the Cotswolds landscape, extending 182 miles from the sea port of Exeter on the South coast up through Britain to Lincoln, Lincolnshire. Forts and garrisons protected this major trading route, Bourton on the Water & Bourton on the Hill are a reminder of areas the Romans based themselves. The word Bourton, having changed over the centuries but the meaning is still the same…fort. The ‘Fort on the Water’ & the ‘Fort on the Hill’
The Romans were instrumental in the future success of the Cotswolds. The Romans introduced a particular breed of sheep, breed for its exceptionally fast-growing fleece. The sheep thrived in the Cotswolds due to the lime content in the soil, making the grass fabulously nutritious. The cloth from these sheep was exported throughout the Roman Empire.